CLEARING AGENTS REACT OVER SHUTDOWN OF HANOVER BONDED TERMINAL BY NPA
*** Give the Terminal five working days to resolve the problem
*** Insist on total waiver for the entire period.
BY McANTHONY ONUOHA
There has been palpable tension at the HANOVER BONDED TERMINAL, located on TinCan Island, following a petition written by the Chairman/ MD, of SOCAR TALAMIZ, and sent directly to the office of the MD,NPA, at Marina Lagos, over violation of an existing order that restricts Terminal operators and other ports users from stripping containers in their Terminals and within the ports premises or along ports corridors.
The petition which led to the shutdown of operations since the 16th of January 2021,by personnel of the Nigeria Ports Authority ( NPA), has not only triggered serious trauma and anxiety in those whose trucks and consignments are locked up in there, while at the point of exit ; over what will be their fate on resumption of operations.
Some of the victims who inundated the premises looked seriously embittered as they eagerly await for operations to resume at the terminal, complained of the inconveniences the shutdown has caused them, which include loss of man-hours and money.
While lodging an official complaint on behalf of the Clearing Agents, the Chairman of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ( ANLCA), TinCan Chapter, Alhaji Muhammed Mojeed,who was in the company of the Vice Chairman, the Chapter Secretary and other members of his team, lamented the lackadaisical attitude being displayed so far by the management of the terminal over the issue, describing it as unacceptable.
Alhaji Mojeed who was visibly angry over the inability of the Terminal operator to resolve the issue in a short space of time, said that why it has lingered is because the proprietor of the Terminal has not made the right moves.
Recall that the Terminal was shut down on the 16th of January, by The Nigeria Ports Authority, over an allegation of stripping containers in the terminal which is in contrary to NPA order. The Nigeria Ports Authority deemed it necessary to stop stripping of containers in the terminals , within Ports Premises and along Ports Corridors, due to the gridlock that has continued to obstruct human and vehicular movements on Ports access roads.
Sadly, some container laden trucks that were about exiting the Terminal prior to the caveat were refused exit as demurrage on both the containers and the trucks keeps accumulating on daily basis.
Reacting to the complaint officially tendered on behalf of Clearing Agents by Alhaji Muhammed Mojeed and his team, the Terminal Manager, who was on hand to attend to the team, enumerated the steps the Terminal has taken so far in its quest to put the matter to rest and resume operations. He regretted the whole situation, assuring that the Terminal will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to resolving the issue before Wednesday next week. He disclosed that himself and the proprietor have not rested since the shutdown, as it has also, adversely affected both the clients and the Terminal as well.
In the oral protest, the TinCan Chapter Chairman of ANLCA, made it very clear to the Terminal Manager, that never will the Chapter allow any agent whose consignment is locked up in Hanover Bonded Terminal, to pay a dime as Terminal Charge, and went further to demand for compensation for those whose containers have been on the trucks; pointing out that the truck owners will not fail to demand for demurrage from the owners of those consignments, describing it as a huge financial burden which is capable of putting one completely out of business .
Alhaji Mojeed vehemently lashed out on the proprietor of the Terminal, saying that his relationship with his clients is too poor ; asking why he does not like approaching critical issues affecting his Terminal with seriousness, alleging that he is always in the habit of declining calls put across to him, as well as shutting his doors against clients, saying that no business outfit or organization survives with such attitude.
However, those that have their trucks and containers stuck in the terminal were seen within the operation base anticipating resumption of operational activities at the terminal.
Addressing the agents after meeting with the Terminal Manager, Alhaji Mojeed assured them that his team will give every necessary backing needed to get fair treatment on resumption of operations. He said that Clearing Agents have been facing very tough times in the industry due the activities of both Shipping Companies and Terminal Operators; not excluding Customs and other agencies of government operating in the ports. He handed a four day ultimatum to HANOVER BONDED TERMINAL to resolve the issue or face the consequences.
Some of the agents expressed their disappointments over the situation, insisting they will not pay a dime as Terminal Charge, as well as demanding for compensation for those whose containers were already at the point of exit before the shutdown.
On Shipping Companies charges, the Secretary of the Chapter, Ovie Michael Imonite Esq., told the victims that were whining over Shipping charges, that the issue does not concern Shipping Companies, and advised them to always channel their matters appropriately.
Finally, Alhaji Mojeed encouraged Agents who are treated unfairly in line of cargo clearing to his office without hesitation, vowing to stop unfair treatment of Clearing Agents at TinCan Chapter. He went further to assure them that his administration as TinCan Chapter Chairman of ANLCA, will keep running an open door policy, attending to everyone regardless of group affiliations. He reiterated that no demurrage will be paid by any agent whose consignment is stuck in Hanover, and that all the trucks locked up at the point of exit must be compensated.
CLEARING AGENTS ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR RESUMPTION OF OPERATIONS AT THE TERMINAL.ALHAJI MUHAMMED MOJEED; TINCAN CHAPTER CHAIRMAN OF ANLCA, ADDRESSING CLEARING AGENTS AT THE TERMINAL .